Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and International Mobility Program (IMP): Persons who may apply at a port of entry

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Most foreign workers must apply for a work permit from outside of Canada. A foreign national may apply for a work permit at any time before entering Canada as per section 197 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). As per ministerial instructions (MI) 62, all applications for a work permit submitted for foreign nationals who are outside Canada at the time of application must be submitted using electronic means—meaning they must apply online.

Some workers can apply at the time of their entry to Canada. When seeking to enter Canada, some foreign nationals may make an application for their work permit at the port of entry per subsection R198(1) if they

  • are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa (TRV) under section R190 and their job falls within the International Mobility Program (IMP) (that is, they are not required to obtain a labour market impact assessment [LMIA])
  • are exempt from the requirement for a TRV under section R190 and their job falls within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) (that is, they are required to obtain an LMIA), and a positive or neutral LMIA has been issued by the time they arrive
  • are a national or permanent resident of the United States (U.S.), Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, regardless of whether their job falls within the TFWP or the IMP
  • are not seeking a work permit in a category not permitted to apply at a port of entry (for example, as a live-in caregiver or as a seasonal agricultural worker)
  • are seeking entry into Canada and meet the requirements of sections R198 and R200

Note: In addition to the above, before they arrive, the foreign national must have passed their immigration medical examination (IME), if required, and provide the valid results.

The following persons cannot apply on entry to Canada [R198(2)]:

Persons who hold a valid work permit or who wish to change their conditions or renew their work permit should apply in Canada, pursuant to section R199.

Persons whose work permits expire while they are outside of Canada may apply at the port of entry if they are eligible to apply there pursuant to section R198. They must provide the officer at a port of entry with sufficient documentation to satisfy the officer that the client meets the requirements for the category to which they are applying.

Note: Although foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement of a TRV may apply for a work permit at a port of entry, if they are travelling to Canada by air, they will need to apply for and obtain an eTA before entry to board their flight to Canada. At the air port of entry, when their work permit is issued, they will also be automatically issued a new eTA with a new validity date.

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